this will be brief, going to bed early because i need to wake up at 7am in preparation for the plumbers arriving at 8am. i called alewife co. this morning, actually spoke to mike. he said to budget $4000 to fix the cast-iron main stack and the corroded hot water pipes. a 2-man team will do the job, $2200 of which is just labor alone. i did the math, my share comes out to around $1300. i spent the day running errands non-stop from 10am to 8pm: rake the backyard, prune the ivy, vote in the municipal election, inspect my community garden, cover my motorcycle, remove the last of the bathroom trims, touched up the bare patch in the foyer wall with 19-year old paint, clean the house including the kitchen (throwing out a bunch of old containers i'll never use), organize the basement and make room for some junk, do a load of laundry. i didn't even have time for lunch, finally ate around 8:30pm, some french bread pizza. my father stopped by in the late afternoon to deliver a coil of pink insulation, while i gave him a bunch of frozen food from my freezer. since my upstairs neighbors won't be back until tomorrow, i gave my father a tour of their house. after dinner i used the bathroom one last time before taking a shower. there will be no water service tomorrow, so it's going to be a long day.
i made a mistake on my ballot. cambridge uses rank choice voting, and i accidentally selected two candidates for number one. i had to ask for a new ballot. i was curious how that works: they basically handed me a new one and then cancelled the old one by writing on it. i didn't know any school committee candidates so i picked randomly, while for city council i only picked two candidates (patricia nolan and quinton zondervan) after doing a bit of research on their positions. cambridge also upgraded their voting stickers. it used to be a generic small "i voted" sticker but now it's a fancy big round sticker, with "i voted" in various languages and a silhouette of an idealized cambridge city skyline. i'm curious if this wasn't a canned sticker, because the word "cambridge" seems awfully small, but the skyline is definitely authentic. after some research, turns out this was the winning design from a CRLS sophomore.
after voting i made a quick stop of the community garden. my hyacinth beans still look good, though none of them have matured to the point of having dry pods so i can harvest the seeds.
i finally got around to removing the bathroom trims. i've attempted to remove them in the past, but it's always been a half-hearted effort as they're nailed down pretty solid. but now i had to take them off before the plumbers come, otherwise they're just got to rip them out with far less care. using a crowbar, i gently pried off the cap moldings. they were nailed down but had enough of a wiggle to gently pry off. i then did the same with the baseboards. those were nailed down even tighter, but with patience, i managed to get those off with the crowbar as well. those pieces i'll save and reuse once i rebuild the box around the pipes. finally i removed the 2x4 corner brace, which was held in place with screws. i didn't have an electric drill but some of the screws were in tight spaces so i don't think it would've helped. luckily all the screws came out.
there's a spot in my entrance foyer wall that's dented from a key on the door that was swung out too far (before i installed a door stop). it's been there for years, and i'm finally getting around to fixing it. i patched up the hole last night with some instant drywall putty. today i was going to paint over it. i had an unused can of foyer paint in citrus blast (benjamin moore book 3 2018-30). only problem was it was 19+ years old. when i cracked open the lid, the paint seemed okay (there was some separation but that's normal), but the metal can had rusted in spots. i was going to get a tiny can of fresh paint, but my father said it was still usable, just work around the rust chips. that made sense, especially since i only needed a tiny amount of paint, no point in getting a new can. after mixing the paint a bit, i used a foam brush to apply the paint. there was too much brush strokes, so i switched to a synthetic brush using a dry brush technique to feather in the paint. it seemed to work okay, i can still spot the difference, but most people probably wouldn't even notice. i applied two coats.
when my father came by to drop off the pink insulation, i took him upstairs for a tour of my neighbors' place. he was pretty amazed, felt like being transported into a house that's not in cambridge. i haven't been up there in a while either, i forgot just how many skylights they have, makes for a very bright place, a farcry from my shady first floor unit. we estimate that if they were to sell, it'd go for $1.5 million.
in the late afternoon i started cleaning my kitchen. not for the plumbers, but more for my upstairs neighbors, who might want to come and see the repair work. steve's been in my place before but paul's never seen the inside. i like to feel that what i lack in fine woodwork and abundant natural light, i make up for in colors. it also gave me a good excuse to clean the kitchen, which was long overdue. since the start of the pandemic and especially after kevin moved out, i've been basically just piling stuff in the kitchen like a hoarder's paradise. i had 4-5 boxes of empty jars and food containers alone, thinking i might use them at some point, but even so, i had way too much. so i was throwing out a lot of stuff. nevertheless, there was still a lot of stuff remaining in the kitchen. i pulled a cheat and put them in the empty bookcase of the guest bedroom. this isn't exactly a permanent solution, more like kicking the can down the road to be solved at some future date.
i also had a bunch of stuff i was moving into the basement, including the bread machine, which i hardly ever use, and some aluminum pots. in addition, some aquarium equipment and a box of magazines were also going down into the basement. in the end i managed to clean out the kitchen enough so that i actually saw my dining table for the first time in more than 2 years.
once evening arrived, my work continued as i moved stuff into the basement. but first i had to clear some space. i also did a bit of clean-up, sweeping the dusty corners of the basement. i was in the basement for an hour, throwing stuff out and reorganizing boxes. my job was made more difficult because somehow david when he moved out managed to fill both recycle bins and the trash barrels, leaving me with little room to spare. i finally finished with the basement by around 7pm.
i had a few more things to clean up in the kitchen before i could finally rest by around 8pm. i tried putting one of my 2ft grow light above my plant stand. it looked pretty cool at night, like a professional plant display as seen from the outside. i threw a pair of frozen french bread pizza in the oven and used the bathroom before showering.
election results were announced in the evening. as expected, michelle wu won the boston's mayor race, beating essaibi george. my mother called me, asking who won, while i was folding laundry and watching annissa's concession speech.
i found an old SB5101 surfboard cable modem from the basement. i plugged it into my cable line to test it out. it also lit up all 4 lights, unlike my sister's SB6190, so more evidence that modem is broken and needs to be replaced on warranty.
i also found a small led aquarium light my father got me the last time my parents were in taiwan. he didn't realize i already have a larger led aquarium light for my tank. i used it briefly as a plant light before i boxed it up and put it away. but ever since i set up my new plant stand, i kept thinking that light would be perfect for it. i plugged it and gave it a test. designed for aquariums, it's not very strong - just 5.4W with 10 LED's. the color temperature is blue 10000K - good for aquatic reefs - but not so much for plants. my 2ft strip light looks a lot better (about 3000K) - a more pleasant yellow light and brighter - but it does use more power (24W).